Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thirty-fourth Weigh-in

It's funny how when I have an awesome weigh-in, I post it right away instead of getting around to it on Sunday. Yes, it was a great weigh-in. I'm down 1.6 lbs this week. This means I've earned another star AND I've lost over 40 lbs!! I was so excited and in such a happy daze that it took the receptionist's gentle reminder that I still had to give her my weigh-in booklet and coupon. This means I've also met my mini goal of 164lbs and have lost over 40% of my starting weight. Whoohoo! I still don't know what to do with myself other than order another charm for my bracelet and set another goal.

The meeting itself was very fun. I'll be posting more about that later with a fun exercise everyone can do.

40lbs!!! :) :) :) :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

This weight loss brought to you by...

Sometimes I think I ought to be a spokesperson for any number of companies who've helped me lose weight. I eat under-6-grams-of-fat Subway sandwiches, I order non-fat lattes from Starbucks, I go to Curves, I've eaten Slim-Fast bars for snacks, I load my iPod Shuffle with audio books from Audible, I buy exercise videos from Amazon, and of course I go to Weight Watchers. Not to mention local grocery stores and businesses with fresh food or healthy menu choices.

So what do you think? Are you a spokesperson, too? And if so, for whom?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New clothing = the key to better posture

In new clothing, I sit up straighter, I keep my stomach in. No, it's not because I've found a stronger sense of pride in myself. Instead, it's to keep from everything hanging out. Clothing which fits – being neither too big nor too small – has no room for slouching. None whatsoever. Take this lovely sweater I'm wearing today. One momentary lapse of control and it won't be pretty.

So take it from me, new clothing will help you sit up straighter. It'll also work your abs, too!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Review: Slim-Fast Optima Chewy Caramel Crunch

Wanting a sugar fix, I bought a box of Slim Fast's Chewy Caramel Crunch Optima bars from Shoppers on the weekend thinking they'd taste just as good as it's cousin, Peanut Butter Crunch. Not so. It's 3 points for a bar of mediocre. I found the caramel taste to be metallic and the "crunch" to be mostly soft with the occasional crispy morsel. Though I ate one bar in its entirety, I regretted it later and have been moodily thinking about tossing the whole box.

The verdict: If you're a fan of the Peanut Butter Crunch Optima bars – and you should be, it's only 2 points and tastes like an honest to goodness Crispy Crunch – steer clear of the caramel bars.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn is wonderful

On a sunny fall day, it feels good to be out and about. Today, my friends and I went on a day-trip to a beautiful provincial park with the most glorious waterfalls. We walked all over the park, following the river down and hopping from rock to log to rock again. I felt so very healthy and vibrant that it was difficult to imagine being anything but. But of course, half a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to keep up as well, nor even feel the joy of simply being outside and moving my body.

The company and scenery aside, I also did very well with food today. Normally I don't do so well on the weekends, let alone day trips. But, I spent some time practicing in my head beforehand what I'd order for breakfast at the restaurant (known for its fattening, but tasty breakfasts) and pulled it off flawlessly. I also did well at lunch, forgoing the side of fries for a side of the soup of the day. And, because I had earned so many Activity Points leaping around the park, I indulged in a small treat from the bakery.

As I write this, I'm sipping a cup of tea and enjoying some gingersnaps. Autumn is wonderful and it feels good to be alive, healthy, and fit.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thirty-third Weigh-in

Today's weigh-in is also known as "turnin' this ship around." My hard work and back-to-basics approach paid off this week as I'm down 1.2 lbs. And it feels great! I also made my mini-goal of getting 20 Activity Points in this week which means I get to go umbrella shopping as soon as I get the chance.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Recipe: Chicken and Vegetable Tortellini Stew

As requested, here's the crockpot recipe I made earlier this week. Note, that I didn't write the recipe, but I did modify it. The ingredients listed include my modifications and are cut and paste from the WW Recipe Builder. The points value is likewise from the WW Recipe Builder though I encourage you to recalculate on your own in case I made a mistake. Bon Appétit!

Chicken and Vegetable Tortellini Stew
Source: Best Slow Cooker Meals, Pillsbury Most Requested Recipes, Volume 9, No. 1, 2004
Makes 6 servings, approximately 5 points per serving
  • 9 oz cheese tortellini, without sauce
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 2 medium carrot(s), sliced
  • 2 clove garlic clove(s), minced
  • 2 medium scallion(s), sliced
  • 1 cup spinach, baby, firmly packed
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 500 gm boneless skinless chicken thigh(s), trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4" pieces
  • 284 ml Campbell's (Canada) Chicken Broth (non-fat, reduced sodium)
  • 398 ml Eden (Canada) Organic Navy Beans
In 3 1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker, layer carrots, garlic, chicken, and beans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour broth and water over top. Stir to combine. Cover; cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, stir tortellini, spinach, onions, and basil in chicken mixture. Increase heat setting to High; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until tortellini are tender.

My modifications include the omission of a medium fennel bulb (chopped) and Parmesan Cheese (sprinkled on individual bowls). I also changed the amount and type of beans from a 19-0z can of Cannellini beans, to a smaller can of navy beans. And lastly, I used non-fat chicken broth instead of regular. As for serving size, the original recipe says that each serving is 1 1/2 cups, but as I've made modifications to the ingredients, only take this as a very rough guide!

Lastly, one shout out for the magazine this came from. Just about everything I've made from it turned out great. If you can find it used, do pick it up! Otherwise, keep an eye out for other Pillsbury publications.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lost and found

I used to be thin. I say this with a reasonable amount of certainty because I have pictures to prove it. Despite this, the doubt remains still. Somewhere along the way I'd forgotten, truly forgotten, what it was like to be thin. There was no then anymore. It was as if I'd always been overweight and the thin girl in the photos was someone else.

Consequently, as I started to lose weight, I'd observe thin people wherever I went. Imagining myself to be them because, as I said, I could not remember being anything other than overweight. However, as time went on and I lost the pounds, watching thin people no longer held the same appeal. On the contrary, it stirred up decidedly uncomfortable feelings. Instead of exploring said feelings, I took the easy way out. I stopped watching thin people.

It wasn't until recently that I figured out why watching them made me feel uncomfortable. It was because I was seeing something in those people that I hadn't seen for years: myself. Or rather, the doppelgänger of my thin self - entirely unrecognizable and yet eerily familiar all the same. No wonder I wanted to run screaming in the other direction.

Nowadays, I no longer feel that strangeness. I'm starting to remember what it was like to be thin. I'll be looking at myself naked in the mirror and think, "I remember my back looking like that." Sometimes, I'll catch myself standing in a certain way, a way in which I used to carry myself when I was smaller. That feeling of being petite but with an indomitable spirit.

Everyday, I see more and more of what my body used to be. It has more scars and stretch marks, but the shape is the same. I've found what was once lost. And I've come to believe that the same could be said for many people. The thin girl - or boy - has always been inside of us. We might not remember or recognize them, but they're there all the same.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Further adventures in the HMCS Crockpot

Though I haven't made as many meals as I've wanted to, I've still been keeping up with using my crockpot. For the moment, I've put aside Fix It and Forget It Lightly because there's almost too many recipes in it, often with the same sorts of ingredients. There's no photos either, which I find I like to see, if only to get an idea of what the dish will look like in the end.

So, I turned to my old crockpot recipe books and magazines to see what the points values were like. I was pleasantly surprised to see that often times the recipes are reasonable in points even if they're not labeled "diet" or "light." For example, the Chicken and Vegetable Tortellini Soup I made earlier this week was about 5 points per 1 1/2 cup serving. It's terrifically yummy and hearty enough to eat for a main course at dinner. And yesterday I made a Turkey and Vegetable Stew which was about 6 points per serving.

If you've got a few crockpot recipe books or magazines, have a look at them and you might be surprised. And even if you don't, have a look at the checkouts of your local grocery store - crockpot books come out of the woodwork this time of year. True, some recipes can be high in points, but there's usually a way to reduce the points value by substituting lower fat ingredients (like reduced-fat cream of chicken soup, non-fat sour cream, fat-free chicken broth etc.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The latte that got away

While I was poking around the Starbucks site, trying to find nutritional info on a number of their heavenly sounding treats (the verdict: not good), I was pleased to see that even more beverages are coming in a light version as well.

Off I headed to Starbucks this morning with the aim of securing a Pumpkin Spice Latte. However, Starbucks was all out of syrup. Doh! So, I opted for the sugar-free skim milk version of the Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Which is...*takes a sip*...not too bad! A nice hint of cinnamon, warm, comforting, and a tasty treat on a cool autumn day.

Having been denied my pumpkin latte, I returned to work to find out how many points the Dolce was. Fortunately, it's only 2 points. Unfortunately, the Pumpkin Spice – even with skim milk and no whipped cream– is 4 points, which is 2 more points than I originally thought it was. Though I could've spared the points, I'm thankful they were out of syrup.

But that's beside the point. The point is, the nutrition calculator on Starbucks' site is pretty nifty. (The baked goods "calculator" is a whole other rant.) Try it out. You can pick your expresso, and then customize it with options for skim milk, 1% milk, soy milk, no whipped cream, and so on. Click the recalculate button and voila! Nutritional info for your particular beverage.

Tip: Do you like the sugar-free syrups but find them a bit too over-powering? Ask for a half-shot, or half-sweet.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Every little step counts

Yesterday was a good day. I tracked my food and I exercised by doing a WATP video and by going skating in the afternoon with friends. When I got home in the evening, it was to a crockpot of nummy Chicken and Vegetable Tortellini soup.

Today, I had a good lunch (thanks to leftovers) and managed to do my grocery shopping for the week. And now I'm about to set out for a walk in the September sun. I have my iPod charged up and filled with a new audio book.

Ah, life goes so much better when you're prepared :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thirty-second Weigh-in

This is also known as the "Getting Serious" weigh-in. I'm up .2 lbs and I deserved it. I deserved it big time. In fact, it could've been worse, so I should also count my blessings.

As the scant number of posts alludes to, I've been super busy with work. A big project, a big deadline, and little time to do much else. I've eaten out more times than I can count these past few weeks. I haven't exercised at all. Not even a half-marathon training walk. Basically, I've been using work as an excuse to let everything slide when I know in my head and heart that I could do much better regardless.

Needless to say, I've been feeling crappy because of the poor nutrition and lack of exercise. My lower back problem came back and I've been wandering around feeling foggy, achy and tired.

When I admitted to what an awful week I had to the Receptionist at the meeting, she asked me what I was going to do about it this week. I knew the answer right away. Recommit and plan, plan, plan. Exercise is top priority. It eases my lower back and gives me the energy I need to get through a long day at work. Having easy-to-prepare food is also priority. I'll be less likely to eat junk if I have something I can pull out of the freezer to heat up at work.

So, today I've sat down and made out a meal plan for the week and have committed to getting my exercise in every day. In fact, it's been a long time since I've set a mini-goal, so I'm setting it now. This week I will earn 20 Activity Points which is what I typically earn. As a reward, I will buy myself a snazzy looking umbrella I've been wanting.

I'll close with a promise I wrote to myself while I was waiting for the meeting to start.
This week I promise to take better care of myself. I will make sure I have healthy, easy-to-prepare food and snacks available. I will exercise more, aiming to get activity in each day of the week. Lastly, I will forgive myself and remember that each choice is a new opportunity.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The cupboard is no longer bare

My shopping excursion yesterday was, on the whole, successful. The morning was the most successful. I bought a jacket I'd been keeping an eye on - a $200 winter jacket on sale for half off - as well as a number of pretty and professional shirts. The afternoon was not so fortuitous as I became increasingly tired and desperate to secure a pair of pants or shoes that fit.

Pants have always given me trouble and, like pantyhose, care not a whit as to my size and were just as ornery now as they have ever been. Though I told pair after pair that they darned well better fit this time, alas, none of them listened and continued - resolutely - not to fit. They were either too small, too big, or too "look at my pantylines!"

The quest for shoes faired no better. Just about every single pair that I tried on was either too tight across the toes or too loose in the heel. After a sales girl at Aldo earnestly assured me that the shoe I was trying on was supposed to feel like an excruciatingly tight metal clamp, I conceded defeat and headed to Walk In Comfort where I found a pair of black nondescript Rockports that fit reasonably well. Though not fancy or exciting as I would have hoped, they're good quality, leather, and should last.

Troubles aside, I'm happy with my purchases (the best of which is this darling little black hat) though my shopping isn't quite done yet. After removing tags and organizing everything into my closet today, I see I need more casual shirts and sweaters. And of course the pants. I only found one pair that fit well enough but I need more than that. After a few days of rest and recuperation, I should be back at it, wandering the Sears clothing racks looking for that elusive beast - the pant that fits.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thirty-first Weigh-in

It looks like my little camping buddy left and took a roommate with him. I'm down 1 lb this week. I'm getting close to my next weight goal and it's exciting! As for the meeting, I confess I wasn't paying as much attention as I usually do. I arrived late and was sitting in the back on a stepstool because it was so packed in there. I couldn't see my leader's face, so it was hard for me to listen. I'm weird this way, but I need to see a person's face in order for their words to sink in.

Afterwards, I went shopping!! And boy am I tired. And I'm not even finished yet! I'll post more later as to how it went.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Well that was fun

I just finished weeding my closet and drawers. Take a look at the aftermath:

Yes, those lonely clothes hanging out on the right side of the closet are all that's left of the clothes that still fit me or are too dear to let go of. Of the clothes that I purged, the best clothes (about 3/4s of it) will be going to a local women's charity. As these clothes are still quite wearable and in good condition (some are not even a year old!), it's hard to part with them. But, I kept reminding myself that they would give someone else pleasure if I released them back to the wild.

On a lark, I decided to find out how many pounds of clothing I was liberating. So, I hopped on the scale with a laundry basket full of the clothes, did a quick calculation and came up with 28lbs. Yep. 28lbs of clothes. Almost as much as I've lost! And in case anyone is wondering what 28lbs looks like, here it is:

Add 10lbs more to include the cat.

Yup. That was definitely fun :) :) :)

The Cupboard is Bare

I can hold off no longer. My wardrobe choices have dwindled to one pair of jeans and a few summer shirts. Everything else is either too big, too old, or too ratty. Even my shoes are needing replacement. The cheap barely year-old peeling-at-the-toe ratty black pleather shoes just don't seem to go with my new sense of self-esteem anymore.

So, this weekend I'm off to indulge in my most anticipated excursion of the year. Fall shopping for clothes. Squeak! I plan on buying as inexpensively as I can – after all, I'll be going through the same wardrobe replacement process in about half a year's time – but I'm not going to scrimp on the shoes.

Here's what I plan on getting:
  • Black leather shoes: good quality that'll last and go with just about anything.
  • Winter jacket: nice and warm for the skiing I plan on doing! If I can find an inexpensive fall jacket, I might get one of those, too.
  • Sweaters: as many as I can afford, I get so cold nowadays without my padding.
  • Long-sleeve shirts: pretty and professional for the office and grocery shopping. I must look good wherever I go!
  • Pants: two pair and again, for the office/glamorous grocery trips.
  • Underwear: and not in the two sizes too big I accidentally bought the last time.
  • PJs: you know your nightgown is too big for you when you bend forward and everyone can see everything from your bosom to your slippered feet.
  • Scarf: purely for frivolous reasons. Some people love shoes, I love scarves.
We'll see how much I can actually afford but it's always fun to dream! I plan on hitting all the stores with sales/inexpensive buys as well as some secondhand places.

Tonight I'm going to ruthlessly go through my closet and start a donation box. I'm going to keep those pre-WW jeans of mine (the ones that caused a near wardrobe malfunction the other day) as a memento though. There's a few sweaters that might pass muster, too. And I might even weed out my scarf collection. Everything else though? Donate, donate, donate!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Six pounds of camping

When I got back from camping on Monday, I weighed myself on my home scale. I wasn't surprised to see that I'd managed to gain 6lbs in only three days. I was reasonably certain that most of those 6lbs could be attributed to the symptoms of having eaten poorly: upset stomach, bloating, and water retention.

Fortunately, I was right. Five of those pounds are gone again, leaving a lone pound hanging around and generally getting up to mischief. If he sticks around for official weigh-in this weekend, I'll consider myself lucky before I run him out of town.

Hopefully, my lesson is learned. Even if I wanted to eat bad food, my body is clearly not used to it anymore. The three days it took me to recover is warning enough!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Camping hangover

Ugh. So I've just spent the long weekend camping and fun though it was, I ate entirely the wrong things. Yesterday afternoon and today I'm really suffering from the bad food I ate. Sugar hangover, upset stomach, all the hallmarks of eating badly, I got 'em. The only saving grace is that I walked a LOT. Still, it's back to basics this week!

Even with camping, I still made it to weigh-in on Saturday morning. I'll be waving my magic blogger wand and posting it shortly.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Thirtieth Weigh-in

I'm down 1.8 lbs this week which has broken the trend of the past three weeks. Whoohoo! My leader also noticed my new jeans and complimented me on them. I guess it wasn't too hard to notice as I'd been wearing pretty much the same clothes to weigh-in for a month straight! Anyways, she brought it up in front of the meeting and asked me to share with the other members how many sizes I went down. That felt good :)

The meeting topic was about reviewing the Weight Watchers booklets. Which is a good thing. I occasionally crack them, but I confess I don't recall everything in them. As soon as I get some time this week, I'm going to read all of them again, back to front!

I also plucked up my courage and passed along the kindness a member did me last week - I complimented a lady on her progress. She's been in meetings for as long as I can remember and she really has done phenomenally well (over 70 lbs lost!) . I hadn't seen her much during the summer, so when I saw her again, it was amazing how much she had changed and how good she looked. So, I told her so and she seemed really pleased. That also felt really good :)